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Power sector probe: PHCN to refund $142m as CBN, AGF others give conflicting figures

Posted by By JAMES OJO, Abuja on 2008/03/14 | Views: 517 |

Power sector probe: PHCN to refund $142m as CBN, AGF others give conflicting figures


The House of Representatives committee currently probing billions of dollars wasted by the Obasanjo administration ostensibly on revamping the energy sector on Wednesday ordered the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to refund $142 million spent on phony and unexecuted cotracts.

The House of Representatives committee currently probing billions of dollars wasted by the Obasanjo administration ostensibly on revamping the energy sector on Wednesday ordered the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to refund $142 million spent on phony and unexecuted cotracts.

The Committee on Power and Steel conducting a seven-day public hearing on the amount spent on the power sector in the past eight years was also bombarded with conflicting records of money released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Accountant General of the Federation, to various contractors handling the power projects.

Besides the $142 million which the PHCN would have to cough out, the committee ordered the company to return another N2.1 billion, 2.1 million Euro and 1.1 billion Yen also paid for contracts during the same period.

These were part of the monies PHCN claimed to have been used in executing contracts in some hydro power stations across the country, but which the chief executives of the stations denied knowledge of.
For instance, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), a subsidiary of PHCN claimed to have committed N116 million to some projects, but which the committee said must be returned to the Federal Government.

Hon. Elumelu, the chairman of the committee threatened to issue warrant of arrest against PHCN consultants and contractors, most of whom shunned the hearing, if they do not appear before the committee.
“Modalities for the return of the monies to the Federal Government should be made as quick as possible,” the committee chairman said.

This was after TCN Chief Executive Officer, Godwin Osakue could not convince the committee on why he had different figures for the contract awarded to build 26 substations across the country.
In the paper he earlier submitted, he claimed that N2.486 billion was used for the stations.

This contradicted his testimony that N2.7 billion was expended, leaving a difference of about N200 million.
He could not also account for N116 million expended on transmission, prompting Elumelu to direct the company to return the money to the Federal Government.

At the hearing, the CBN and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) failed to reconcile the total amount cashed by the PHCN for its projects between 1999 to 2007.

While the CBN, in its submission at the hearing said that it had released $4.8 billion to the PHCN between 1999 and 2007, the AGF said its record showed that N3.7 billion was released to PHCN and $3.067 billion for the National Integrated Power Projected (NIPP).

But, the Coordinator of PHCN, Alhaji Shuaibu Maigida startled the committee when he maintained that PHCN actually received the total sum of $3.8 billion from the period.
But the Committee Chairman praised the AGF for keeping cleaner record of the disbursement to the power sector, saying his account corroborated that of the Ministry of Power.

Dankwabo, in his submission gave the total amount approved by the National Assembly from 1999 to 2007 for the resuscitation of the sector as N575.872 billion, while the total amount released in the various warrants from the budget office was N527.878 billion and the cash back was N435.115 billion.
He gave the breakdown as follows: “Budget for 1999 was N11.205 billion; amount that was released was N6.697 billion and the amount that was cash back was N6.697 billion which gives a budgetary performance 29.77 per cent.

“For 2000, the amount approved by the National Assembly was N59.064 billion, amount that was released in the warrant was N49.784 billion and amount cash back was N49.784 billion and a performance of 84.29 per cent.
“In 2001 N78.397 billion was approved by the NASS, amount released in the warrant was N70.927 billion and amount cash back was N70.927 million which shows a 90.47 per cent performance.

“In 2002, the amount approved in the budget was N63.942 billion. The amount as contained in the warrant was N44.196 million and amount cash back was N44. 196 billion which shows 69.12 per cent.
“In 2003, the amount approved was N55.587 billion, amount of budgetary release in the warrant was N55.587 billion and amount cash back was N5.207 billion, that is the lowest of 9.3 per cent.
“In 2004, the amount approved was N54. 624 billion, amount released in the warrant was N54. 624 billion and the amount cash back was N54.494 billion or 99.7 per cent.

“In 2005, the amount approved was N78.263 billion, amount of budgetary release as contained in the warrant was N71.88 billion and amount cash back was N70.313 billion which is 89.84 per cent.
“In 2006, the amount was N74. 710 billion. Amount in the warrant was N74.308 billion and amount that was cash back was N72.393 billion or 96.90 per cent.

“In 2007, the amount approved in the budget was N100.078 billion. Amount contained in the warrant was N99. 865 billion and the amount that was cash back was N61. 101 billion which is 61.05 per cent” said Ibrahim Dankwambo, the Account General of the Federation.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.